General Article

Protect Your Small Business From Fraud, Identity Theft, and Hacking

According to a report made in 2013 by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, companies that have 100 or less employees experienced a loss of $155,000 because of fraud. They have also reported that small businesses have a higher fraud rate than most large business, mainly due to lack of security.

Today, phishers and hackers have become extremely creative and effective in their techniques. The recent attacks on high-profile companies like HBO and Deloitte shows that there is a constant and increasing threat of cyberattacks, and businesses should be vigilant.

If you are a small business, and especially if you are keeping confidential or sensitive files in a cloud, you should definitely consider these simple ways of protecting your digital assets.

Use the WHOIS privacy feature

When you purchase a domain, it becomes available as public information on the Whois lookup list, together with other pertinent website owner information. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for collecting these data and publishing it. One of the main reasons it’s available publicly is to help webmasters contact each other to discuss the purchase of domain names. This is especially helpful if your preferred domain name is owned by another webmaster.

However, you might be open to identity theft and fraud if your information falls into the wrong hands. For this reason, you must take advantage of the WHOIS privacy feature being offered by your internet domain registrar.

Secure all your account information and paper bills

Credit card and bank account frauds are among the most common, so this should be a priority. The first thing you do is separate business accounts with all the personal accounts. This ensures that if theft does happen, the perpetrator will not be able to get it all. Managing your accounts will also be easier to track now becausedeductibles, tax returns, and other transactions are categorised.

If you have a company credit card, make sure you and one other person have access to it. Handing it over to anyone will run the risk of credit card fraud especially if you do not have a familiar relationship with them. If you can, do switch to online billing so that it will just automatically charge your card. Store your paper bills in an organiser so that you have a way to track your expenses in case you need to dispute a charge.

Employ Two-Factor Authentication

If you have a cloud folder that stores confidential information, setup a password for it. This limits the access to only you or one other person, and at the same time, you will be notified via email or SMS that someone is accessing the folder.

Purchase an SSL certificate for your website

An SSL certificate will encrypt the information that is sent to and from your website. If most of the transactions you’re receiving come from your website, an SSL certificate will protect the data being exchanged by putting in random characters so that it becomes unreadable to a hacker. Only the right encryption can decipher the data that was sent, and you and your customer are the only ones who have it.

Train employees to find tell-tale signs of cyber attacks

Most applications, both web and mobile, have their own security measures. They keep improving these as OS updates overtime. However, there are ways in which you and your employees candetect whether an email or a link is sketchy. You can hire experts to do a talk or seminar to warn your employees on the red flags of suspicious files and email addresses.

Execute these and set up security policies and strictly implement them so you can protect your digital assets from those who will use it to harm.